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Raising Quality Horses In Saskatchewan

LaPlaine Quarter Horses and Paints is a family operation that includes the families of Raymond and Vera Gauthier and Henry and Nicole Gauthier of Duck Lake, Saskatchewan.

The Gauthiers have been raising breed and show stock for over 17 years. Both Henry and Nicole were raised with horses and over the years their love and passion grew for the quarter and paint horse breeds. Both have extensive training and experience working with horses and they are continuing their dream of raising quality quarter and paint horses.

Nicole’s background with horses has provided the experience and skills required to train the animals. She has worked under an apprenticeship program with four different trainers using different avenues of training. This enabled her to develop a broader spectrum of skills and methods that she uses in her coaching and training career. With over 20 years’ experience in the equine industry she has been training and coaching professionally for 16 years, specializing in show horses and youth show horses and is an active member of the Saskatchewan Paint Horse Club. She will train the horse from start to finish in Halter, Trail, Showmanship, Western Pleasure, English Pleasure and Pattern.

The farm currently has both American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) and American Paint Horse Association (APHA) registered horses consisting of stallions, brood mares, young stock and riders. The stallions and mares have show-stopping qualities that are passed down to the offspring through selective breeding. This ensures that the pedigree and bloodlines are maintained. LaPlaine horses come from proven bloodlines and are bred for the athleticism, conformation and easygoing dispositions. Their purpose is to breed and raise all-round show and futurity horse stock.

“We aim for that ‘all-rounded’ animal that can be used in more than one event and the animal must be able to be of competitive composure,” says Nicole.

The paint breed has three main coat colour categories which produce many variations — Tobiano, which is where the white crosses over the back; Overo, with a solid body colour and white underside; and the Solid Paint Bred is a solidcoloured paint with white markings not large enough to qualify for regular paint registry. These horses can still be shown at APHA shows in separate Solid Paint Bred classes.

The Duck Lake farm begins foaling in February under close supervision of the Gauthier family. The foals are under the influence of human contact from birth. This, along with being raised around dogs, cats, small children, vehicles and tractors, enables the horse to become more adaptive to its surroundings.

With early and constant contact, the Gauthiers are able to determine within the first couple of months if the foal’s conformation and temperament will fit their training program.

“Just because a horse does not fit our program is not an indication of a bad horse,” Nicole says. “We had a high-energy horse that made a great barrel racer. We are always happy to hear that our horses fit other programs.”

The Gauthiers are excited with where they are at with their stock. Nicole has a phenomenal group of clients involved in showing and riding lessons and finds coaching very rewarding.

Both Ray and Henry ensure their stock have quality feed by producing, cutting, drying and baling their own premium quality and blends of hay. There are usually four distinct blends made to ensure their feed program is met. The feed program at LaPlaine Quarter Horses and Paints is specifically tailored to fit the nutritional requirements of each horse focusing on its specific use. A young horse, weanling to two years, is fed second-cut alfalfa complemented with grain and supplement rations. The feed ration of mares is changed to second-cut alfalfa immediately after foaling to increase lactation. Show horses are fed more frequently to ensure maximum weight and promote appetite. The Gauthiers regularly confer with veterinarians and nutrition specialists to develop a feed program for their stock and there is regular hoof and vaccination maintenance.

The Gauthiers are excited to be leading LaPlaine Quarter Horses and Paints into another decade of quality breeding and show stock. They are dedicated to raising quality animals with a focus on producing versatile horses that can show and work at home. Henry and Nicole are a good team. Nicole specializes in the client portion of the business through training and coaching and Henry uses his expertise to record and monitor breeding and to train the young and halter prospects.

For more information about LaPlaine Quarter Horses and Paints visit the website at www.laplaineq handpaints.com.

VivianNemishwritesfromBlaineLake, Saskatchewan

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